Doing Pit: How indispensable can you be?

Published on April 29th, 2021

The Pit role on a keelboat contributes to all corners of the boat. Eric Peltosalo (Annapolis, MD) shares his approach to the job:


I’m almost always first to arrive. Among my self-prescribed duties are:

1) Check bilge for water. Pump dry if necessary. Same for cooler.
2) Move sails from forward compartment to cabin sole. Stack in anticipated order of use.
3) Pack Spin left out in cabin to dry after sloppy douse at end of last race. Run tapes on other spins.
4) Place all sheets, guys, winch handles, tiller extension, main battens, etc. in or near cockpit.
5) Place blocks for guys on rail. Install twings for sheets. Have barber haul ready.
6) Make sure all spares are present and available.
7) Uncoil all halyards and other lines: run and flake same.
8) Turn on battery and check fuel level; put engine key in. Check instrument displays.
9) Stow all canvas covers below.
10) Since position is in companionway on top of cooler, perform primary duty of SNACKTICIAN. Properly arrange all beverages and ice same. Stow snacks in readily reachable cubbies.
11) Dig Sailing Instructions, course maps, charts, etc. out from mess in navigation station. Vow to clean same up some day. Check weather on VHF and place handheld in cockpit.
12) Properly stow all bags and gear from crew as they arrive and toss below. Try to keep them away from beer until after race.
13) Do all in REVERSE ORDER after RC or skipper calls off race.

Dress Code: Sailing shoes, good gloves, multi-tool, shades, cargo shorts with plenty of room for bits and pieces, must have at least 3 or 4 hands and ability to see 360 degrees.

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